We noted yesterday that President Obama’s “approval index” in the Rasmussen survey was down to -5, meaning that likely voters who “strongly disapprove” of Obama’s performance outnumbered those who “strongly approve” by five percentage points. Today Obama’s approval index plummeted to -8, as 38% strongly disapprove, compared with 30% who strongly approve:
That’s not the only bad poll news for Obama. Yahoo News is currently headlining, “Independent voters deserting Obama, recent polls suggest.” The linked article says:
It is the independents who appear to be currently on the move: Obama dropped 6 percentage points last week from the week before in Gallup’s tracking poll, and Quinnipiac University found a 5-percentage-point drop in approval from independents between early June and early July. Recent state polling shows drops over longer periods.
Paul wrote last night, questioning significance of these early polls. He’s right, of course, that poll results are driven mainly by the economy and the real question is how voters see the economy in November 2010, not today. Thus, for example, President Reagan’s approval was in the 30s for much of 1983 due to a double-dip recession, but just a year later, after voters saw how successful his administration’s economic policies were turning out to be, he was re-elected in a landslide.
Nevertheless, I do see real significance in Obama’s current slide. It reflects serious misgivings about the administration’s policies at a time when the bad consequences of those policies have not yet been felt. Taxes are going to rise; deficits are going to soar; unemployment will remain relatively high and growth relatively slow due to Democratic policies that weaken the economy, even after the current recession ends; and inflation seems almost inevitable. And that assumes the Democrats don’t succeed in passing tax-and-trade or socialized medicine, in which case the adverse consequences will be much worse.
So what voters will see, probably by November 2010 and certainly by November 2012, is that their doubts about Obama’s policies were justified. There is little public appetite for the radical proposals the Democrats have been ramming through Congress, little support for the bailouts or the “stimulus,” and deep-seated concern about record spending and deficits. When the bill for those policies comes due, the stage could be set for a historic repudiation of the Democratic Party and its principles.
That’s my hope, anyway.
PAUL adds: I agree with John that the economic policies Obama has, and will, put into place will do harm. But when, and to what extent, is unclear. The proposition that Obama’s economic policies are terrible is not inconsistent with the proposition that the economy will experience a recovery in 2010 or with the proposition that the economy will appear to be in good shape when Obama stands for re-election in 2012.
If the economy recovers, even for just a while and even less robustly than it might have, I think the public’s reservations about Obama’s policies will recede substantially.